“Visit Rwanda”, from a soft power strategy to a profitable business for forest and wildlife conservation

The "Visit Rwanda" strategy is used by the country's government to attract tourism and private investment into its vast forests, in order to meet its ambitious restoration and conservation plans.

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Climate Chance Observatory

In 2011, Rwanda joined the Bonn Challenge, a global initiative led by IUCN, and pledged to bring 2 million ha under forest landscape restoration (FLR) by 2030. Amounting to 82% of its territory, this target is the highest national proportion committed under the Challenge. In the early 2010s, the Government of Rwanda also included a 30% national forest cover target by 2020 in multiple economic and development policies. In 2019, the country was estimated to have 708,629 ha under restoration, meaning 29% of its target is achieved. Efforts are estimated to have led to the sequestration of more than 100 MtCO2, according to IUCN calculations. $531 million were invested, including 51% from domestic public expenditure ($275 million) and 36% from co-financing of public funds and international grants. Private sector investment remains below 1%, but new tourism policies might be a game-changer.